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The non-cooperative tile assembly model is not intrinsically universal or capable of bounded Turing machine simulation

Abstract : The field of algorithmic self-assembly is concerned with the computational and expressive power of nanoscale self-assembling molecular systems. In the well-studied cooperative, or temperature 2, abstract tile assembly model it is known that there is a tile set to simulate any Turing machine and an intrinsically universal tile set that simulates the shapes and dynamics of any instance of the model, up to spatial rescaling. It has been an open question as to whether the seemingly simpler noncooperative, or temperature 1, model is capable of such behaviour. Here we show that this is not the case, by showing that there is no tile set in the noncooperative model that is intrinsically universal, nor one capable of time-bounded Turing machine simulation within a bounded region of the plane. Although the noncooperative model intuitively seems to lack the complexity and power of the cooperative model it was not obvious how to prove this. One reason is that there have been few tools to analyse the structure of complicated paths in the plane. This paper provides a number of such tools. A second reason is that almost every obvious and small generalisation to the model (e.g. allowing error, 3D, non-square tiles, signals/wires on tiles, tiles that repel each other, parallel synchronous growth) endows it with great computational, and sometimes simulation, power. Our main results show that all of these generalisations provably increase computational and/or simulation power. Our results hold for both deterministic and nondeterministic noncooperative systems. Our first main result stands in stark contrast with the fact that for both the cooperative tile assembly model, and for 3D noncooperative tile assembly, there are respective intrinsically universal tilesets. Our second main result gives a new technique (reduction to simulation) for proving negative results about computation in tile assembly.
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Contributor : Damien Woods <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 8, 2017 - 5:05:44 PM
Last modification on : Friday, January 31, 2020 - 11:26:02 AM

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Damien Woods, Pierre-Étienne Meunier. The non-cooperative tile assembly model is not intrinsically universal or capable of bounded Turing machine simulation. STOC 2017 - Theory Fest 49th Annual ACM Symposium on the Theory of Computing, Jun 2017, Montréal, Canada. pp.328-341, ⟨10.1145/3055399.3055446⟩. ⟨hal-01659730⟩



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